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TIB calls for effective and visible role of the opposition

Though the 10th parliament witnessed a decreasing trend in the 10th Parliament, "Quorum crisis" is still a concern. The estimated cost of quorum crisis during the first session was BDT 8.1 million public money. Only 1.8 percent of total session was spent on formulation of laws - the key role of the parliament. Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) revealed these in its ‘Parliament Watch’ report that was released before the media on July 7 at Brac Center Inn in Dhaka. The study also made 18 recommendations including opposition’s visible role in making the parliament more effective.
Juliet Rosette, Programme Manger and Morsheda Akther, Deputy Programme Manager, Research and Policy, TIB presented findings of the study. Advocate Sultana Kamal, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees; Dr Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director; Dr Sumaiya Khair, Deputy Executive Director and Mohammad Rafique Hasan, Director of Research and Policy, TIB were also present during the release.
According to the study overall attendance rate of Members of the Parliament (MPs) was 64 percent while the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition were present respectively in 89 percent (32 days) and 39 per cent (14 Days) sessions. Highlighting positive features of the first session, the study revealed that the main Opposition had not boycotted any session, but did not also raise voice on any issues of public interests like irregularities in public sector recruitment, board question paper leak scandal,



gold forgery in memento to honour friends of liberation war, unusual accumulation of wealth by aspiring MPs, false wealth statement in submitted affidavits etc. Besides, both ruling and opposition MPs used unparliamentary and vulgar words in criticising the opposition of the 9th parliament. Though all parliamentary standing (51) committees were formed in the first session, none of opposition MPs was made chair of any committee.


The key responsibility of the parliament is to enact laws for public interest but sadly the businessmen dominated parliament is spending only 2 percent time for this purpose - Advocate Sultana Kamal

Pointing to holding positions in different standing committees by former ministers, the study said that it might create conflict of interest and hamper investigations if any against irregularities in ministry matters. 
Advocate Sultana Kamal said, “The key responsibility of the parliament is to enact laws for public interest but sadly the businessmen dominated parliament is spending only 2 percent time for this purpose.” “Matters related to business are being dealt quickly”, she added.
Criticising the role of the present Opposition, Dr Iftekharuzzaman urged them to play more visible role of opposition and uphold public interests to make the parliament more effective and turn it into the centre of accountability.
The study recommended among others reducing the length of consecutive absence from parliamentary sessions from esisting 90 to 30 days, passing of Code of conduct Act for MPs, holding parliamentary debate on international agreements, amendment of article 70 of the constitution to promote self criticism free expression of thoughts and independent parliamentary voting, timely, organised and easily accessible disclosure of information related to attendance of MPs in sessions and standing committee meetings, and meeting decisions, introduce provision to inform the standing committee about ministry’s decision on committee’s recommendations, provision of abstain from voting in meeting decisions in case of conflict of interest etc.